Update: The Great Reset

by | Sep 18, 2022 | Opinion, Tanks | 0 comments

In the article named The Great Reset I outlined my plan to refresh an 8 year old overgrown 120 gallon reef tank.  This system was Montipora species dominant with many fairy wrasses. Montipora corals are fast growers and will  encrust across the aquascape and onto neighboring corals if not kept in check. Here is an update on how well my planning was adhered to and the final results.


Thankfully I was in no rush to complete this activity and took the time to perform the following in sequence:

  • Built a modern aquascape following the Rule of 3rds with existing rock and E-Marco Mortar and medium Cyano Acrylate glue
  • Cycled the assembled aquascapes in dedicated containers for  6-8 weeks while dosing bacterial additives
  • Re-homed coral colonies and removed 30 lbs. of coral skeletons and rocks
  • Vacuumed up some of the detritus buildup in the gravel and found my Diamondback goby that I thought died 3 years ago
  • Transferred the new aquascape into the tank
  • Re-mounted all the Euphyllia and Fimbriaphyllia from the overgrown 40 Breeder they were in
  • Lowered all the lighting intensity and gyre flows more fit for LPS corals


This list of tasks outlined in The Great Reset  was very helpful in itemizing all the tools and preparation I needed. When it comes to dealing with living organisms, timing and minimizing of stress is most important.

The major benefit I had is that my 120 gallon tank is part of a larger 510 gallon system. This avoids going through the “ugly phase” that can take weeks to overcome. Impacts to the livestock are minimum since no water chemistry acclimation is needed, though the corals will still need to adjust to the new flow patterns and lighting.

Just be forewarned, taking large colonies out of your system will result in a slight alkalinity spike at minimum. The large colonies are major sponges for nutrients and trace elements as well. Re-evaluate the systems supplementation needs after a week of settling.

Being the 3rd time I have refreshed this tank, it went surprisingly smooth. I did this in stages which minimized my own stress.  The only help I had was for pulling the 15lb bommie out of the tank to chisel off the colonies. Even this type of activity falls under the mantra “Nothing good ever happens fast in this hobby…”  So stick with the 6Ps… Prior Proper Planning Prevents Poor Performance.

  • Ellery Wong

    Ellery is a mechanical systems engineer at a Fortune 500 technology company. He has automation experience in the automotive, appliance, printing and robotics industries as a product development professional but also has over 35 years of saltwater aquarium experience as a hobbyist. He currently maintains a 9 tank / 540 gallon SPS/LPS/Mixed systems. DIY is his forte!

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